Days of Change

Barack Obama Was Forged in Hell

September 16, 2016
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The media’s fixation this decade year month week day is Donald Trump’s odd flirtation with seeing Obama’s birth certificate. Like most other Trump missteps, this demand was designed to increase Trump’s profile as a badass. Pointing this out would be an effective media strategy to help their candidate, Hillary Clinton. However, they wanted more.

The plan was to either make Trump renounce his demands for an Obama birth certificate (which he got) or be labeled a conspiracy nut. The problem is that since Obama ended up publishing it, Trump essentially won the argument. In typical Donald Trump fashion, he would say “maybe” Obama was born in Kenya or “I don’t know” where he was born.

The fact is that it is ridiculous to make anyone pledge that Barack Obama was born in the United States. It is really only possible to say there is no clear evidence he was not born in the US. Could there be a cover-up? Sure, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I covered this 5 years ago in another post.

Seven and three quarters into this administration, Barack Obama could have been forged in the fires of Hades and it won’t have much of an impact. If the media is trying to make Trump look dumb and crazy, this is the wrong hole to dig. They have to figure out what GOP fence sitters don’t like about Trump and focus on that. Luckily, they live in America’s heartland and the media don’t know where that is.

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A Hard Pill to Swallow

September 15, 2016

The unfortunate reality in political campaigns is that the candidate who lies most effectively is the one who wins. The lies don’t have to be big. In fact, being vague or misdirecting people is a good way to not tell anyone anything while sounding like you did. George Bush Sr. promised no new taxes but got in trouble by redefining taxes. Bill Clinton promised to bridge the divide between the left and the right and was inadvertently forced into it when his first two years helped Democrats lose the Congress for the next six.

Obama used the total gibberish of “hope and change” to argue that his mere presence would make America different. His presence as a self-identified Black president (he’s actually mixed-race, the real fastest growing racial group in the country) was not a role model for Black communities. Obama simply used his race as part of a progressive theory that the economic underclass should be coddled for opposing the police and government trying to keep order.

This is where Donald Trump comes in. He is essentially Pat Buchanan from 1992, except that no one wanted to listen to Pat in 1992. The idea to make America “great” again is not about some throwback to the 1950’s, (which is a trope the left has been using since the premiere of Happy Days in the 1970’s) but a rejection of Obama-ism and most of Clintonism. Mitt Romney was right about everything 4 years ago, but Buchanan was right about the last 24 years.

Donald Trump has entered the bargaining stage of the campaign where getting shushed at Black churches and creating a new entitlement (almost every Republican president in the modern era has created one) are the way to shore up the groups needed to win the election. The reluctant Trump voters (I wouldn’t go as far as supporters) are worrying that they have entered the acceptance stage of a Trump presidency on the way to the death of conservatism.

Back to reality for a second. Conservatism in both parties went dormant almost a century ago. Calvin Coolidge was the last of the Republicans and Grover Cleveland was the last of the Democrats to really shrink government influence and money. The next incarnation was with Barry Goldwater who lost his election, then chose not to warm up to Ronald Reagan. What Reagan did was to redirect government toward military expansion and cutting what was a 70% top tax rate to 28%. It’s still only up to around 40% now. He also attempted comprehensive immigration reform and it failed. Sometimes you have to try something different.

The Trump opposition among Republicans is less about economic conservatism and more about the moral majority, interventionist conservatism that Trump appeals to the least. That group is also tiny these days. You can tell because Gary Johnson would be at 30% if it was about limited government. Reagan gave away free landline service and increased the deficit. IS a child care tax credit really a deal breaker?

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Lucky Number Seven

September 14, 2016
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Samsung is facing worse and worse news regarding their 7th generation phones. Besides the Galaxy 7 Note overheating and exploding, the problem seems to exist in the Galaxy S7 phone release as well. Apple is also in some trouble. With little in the way of bells and whistles for the iPhone 7, the biggest wow factor was the lack of an actual headphone jack on a device used for the transmission of sound. Besides claims that wireless is the future, Apple also needed the connector gone to make room for more electronics and improve its water resistance. Samsung has a more waterproof phone, but the irony is that you may need to throw it in water when it catches fire.

Phones have become so feature-rich in the last decade that people use them more and never leave home without them. This means the batteries are constantly being drained and phones are extremely likely to face negative environmental conditions, like small bodies of water. At the same time, durability and power efficiency are not considered sexy marketing points. Many of the gains in fuel economy and safety in cars are due to government regulations.

What’s scary (besides the giant danger label on any phone box with a battery) is that the government (Chuck Schumer, I bet) will want to regulate the amount of innovation in a phone. They’ll decide people want cooler, heavier batteries with less charge and mandatory impact cases for all the currently small, sleek phone casework. Maybe the kids will know what a brick phone looks like after all.

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Escape From New York

September 13, 2016
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The state of New York, in addition to its Trump University lawsuit, has also started an investigation into the Trump Foundation. Even better, a New York judge will decide whether it is in the public interest to unseal records from Donald Trump’s first divorce requested by the media. Welcome to New York when you’re a Republican.

New York has a lot of legal and tax policies that make it a terrible place to live. It’s even a terrible place to stay. If you do business in New York City for even a day, you have to pay New York State income tax for that day. It’s one of the reasons Rush Limbaugh decided to move to Florida full time. The governor at the time welcomed the move. Welcome to New York when you’re a Republican.

The allure of New York is obviously failing, as the population drop proves. Everyone in the state knows what the word “snowbird” means and that they are usually flying to Florida. Some of them stay. Donald Trump has his home in Florida, he only rents New York City. Now the state is going to punish him for his presence.

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Hillary Fever: Catch It!

September 12, 2016
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I have no idea if Hillary Clinton is suffering from a chronic cognitive disorder brought on by a severe concussion or was simply overworked and suffering from a bronchial infection. What I do know is that the opacity of her campaign has created a veil which makes both possible given what little evidence we have. Clinton is literally Schrodinger’s Cat, protected by a box that conceals any attempts to determine if she is alive or dead.

I am saddened that of the hundreds of millions of Americans eligible to be president, the two (three if you count Gary Johnson) running are the best we could get. Donald Trump has a lot of support, but he was hardly anyone’s first choice. Hillary Clinton simply had to hold off a vanity campaign with no money and no support by the Democratic Party.

To make up for the lack of a real choice, the people and the media had some standards for candidates to at least reveal some information about themselves. In the modern era, however, medical records have become very private and no candidate really wants every embarrassing accident, weird infection or odd thing to be made available to a social media storm that can pick out any one thing and keep it on the Internet forever. So, a lot of medical “summaries” and statements came out instead. We don’t know about Bill Clinton’s VD, George Bush’s ODs or Barack Obama’s, well, anything.

Hillary Clinton has had a medical report released, but seems to have more incidents now that her schedule has increased for the campaign. Donald Trump has shown no signs of ill health, but had a hastily scribbled doctor’s note, slightly shorter than the Gettysburg Address, as his public record. At this point, health is just another point of personal opinion added to the pile that doesn’t really help anyone decide whom to vote for.

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All Terrorism is Local

September 11, 2016
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I really had no idea what to write today. For years, I posted my tribute to James Gregory Smith, a Kantor Fitzgerald employee in the World Trade Center. He and thousands of other people died that day, but the reasons, like almost everything else in this country and the world have become “politicized.” I put politicized in quotes because it, in fact, has nothing to do with the business of government. What we’re talking about on a global scale is who will be in control and what the people in power will do to the people with less power, or no power.

If the European Union was an example of good government, there would not have been Brexit. If the process of government simply needed skilled stewardship, Donald Trump would not be a major party nominee right now. If terrorism were not effective, it would not still be happening.

I think the reaction to September 11, 2001 will prevent a massive single attack from happening in the near future. That massacre fundamentally altered national policy and global relations. Middle Eastern countries are now seeing the cost of letting these maniacs run wild while they ignored them. The bad news is that terrorism has become localized. The Orlando shooting and the attack in Nice, France are examples of using unplanned violence in random places to terrify the public. Many places in the world don’t have large buildings, but most have night clubs and public squares.

What we consider political is actually cultural. We need to elevate the human spirit, not by allowing every personal whim to become a right, but by allowing the human race in this global community freedom to think and say what they want, but not impose those beliefs on everyone else. And that goes for keeping the government at arm’s length as well. If human beings are packed in like rats, they will start to act like rats.

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September 10, 2016

Hillary Clinton made a remark about Trump voters falling into two equal “baskets.” One was the disgruntled, hard working Americans who felt government had let them down and made their lives worse. The other half were a “basket of deplorables” filled with racists, sexists, internet trolls and otherwise horrible people.

Deplorable means either having low quality, deserving of condemnation, or both. Some of the Hillbots out there are trying to say that since Clinton said these things out in the open, it is not as bad as the infamous Mitt Romney 47% comments. This is not exactly true. Regardless of audience, The message about political adversaries seems very different.

Romney was essentially saying that there is about 47% of the electorate who was a net receiver of government money and that the Democrats catered to them. Now, some of that group receives Social Security or Unemployment or something that was paid into. It doesn’t matter, because the Democrats always use the lie line that Republicans are going to take away your Social Security. What this actually says is that there are a lot of people who would rationally choose Democrats if their financial support was based on government.

Clinton, on the other hand, talked about half of the Donald Trump base of support being “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic.” Going by the polls, she is saying that 23% of the voting population is bigoted about Blacks, women, gays, Muslims and different people in general. I think too much of the outage is falling into her overestimating the negative portions of Trump’s support. I’m more interested in her definition.

For example, if racist means believing police do a good job almost all of the time, then it probably is half of Trump’s support. If sexist and homophobic means not letting male sexual predators use women’s rest rooms, then half may be an underestimate. If Islamophobic means not supporting importing thousands of “refugees” to the US where they don’t want to be and will only be able to socialize with radicals, that’s almost all of Trump’s voting base

I think Clinton is failing at putting together a coalition of the corrupt and the butthurt large enough to win her the election. What she said the other day is only going to make Republicans more resolute.

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Gary Johnson: 50; Egg McMuffin: 1?

September 9, 2016
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In the process to get on the ballot, the Libertarian Party has not been able to have their candidate’s name printed on all 50 state ballots since Ross Perot’s name was also on there. As of this week, however, it is easy for every American to vote for Gary Johnson. This is slightly better than the case for Donald Trump, where his name may not appear on the Minnesota ballot.

One of the worst candidates is probably Evan McMullin, the last-minute NeverTrump candidate who decided to name a fictional Nathan Johnson, no relation to Gary, in 8 out of nine ballot applications. In most of those states, the name cannot be a “placeholder” and would make the application invalid if McMullin does not choose a candidate who legally goes by that name.

This may be about the end of the anti-Trump peanut gallery to mount a campaign of anyone whose not Trump, also not Gary Johnson, but who will accept the humiliating defeat of being a nearly total vanity campaign. First they tried to get Rubio nominated, then they tried to get Austin Peterson nominated for the Libertarian Party, then they tried to get a prominent Republican politician to run, then they were willing to go with anyone who was mildly vetted.

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Why Aleppo?

September 8, 2016
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Any publicity is good publicity.

After weeks of Trump / Clinton drama, Gary Johnson finally got an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. Former plagiarist and fictional news columnist Mike Barnicle asked Johnson what he would do as president about Aleppo. The headline was that Johnson did not know what Aleppo is, which was made especially clear by Barnicle remarking “you’re kidding” after Johnson asked about it.

Full disclosure that I did not know where or even what Aleppo is. Apparently, it is an ancient Syrian city that has been decimated by being in the way of a battle between Bashar al-Assad and rebel forces. Ultimately, it is yet another crisis where the world (in other words, the United States) is supposed to interfere.

Governor Johnson’s preparedness aside, Barnicle’s question is ridiculous. Why does the U.S. need to do anything? In fact, we have already supported (along with ISIS) rebels strong enough to fight a bloody, protracted war with the leader of Syria. In a way, Johnson’s lack of knowledge may have been better than the Libertarian answer. We should do nothing. Doing things is the reason why Aleppo is the way it is. If it wasn’t that city, there’s a list of cities around the world engaged in crises both internally and externally created.

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What the Hillary?

September 7, 2016
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Earlier this week, the Richmond Times Dispatch in Virginia endorsed Gary Johnson for president. While they criticize both Clinton and Trump, their 36 year streak of endorsing Republicans seems to indicate they didn’t want to endorse Donald Trump and were never going to endorse Hillary Clinton. They interviewed Johnson and found him acceptable enough to support.

More disturbing is the Dallas Morning News, who has supported Republicans for 75 years. They completely reversed course and chose Hillary Clinton by mistaking her ability to game the system as competence for high office. They apparently decided that Johnson was not a serious enough candidate and that Trump must be punished (along with Americans) for not being the right Republican.

The Trump campaign of 2016 is looking more and more like the Obama campaign of 2008. The Hillary-supporting PUMAs eventually had to make a choice, give in, turn to the other side or give up entirely with a protest vote. It’s hard to say the actual breakdown because all three choices were made by people who claim the name PUMA today.

NeverTrump is either going to end up supporting Trump, like Mark Levin, supporting Hillary, like the Dallas Morning News or protest voting for a candidate (Evan McMullin) who is running a vanity campaign. A vote for Gary Johnson will only have an impact in 4 years, and that’s if the Libertarian Party candidate can get 15% of the popular vote.

The last even remotely popular third party candidate was Ross Perot, and he ran as a protest candidate to George H. W. Bush, who ran as a Reagan Republican, failed, and then won the nomination because he was an incumbent. The establishment, who makes crass, self-centered political decisions, will not try to torpedo Trump now that he has a real chance of winning. Johnson is close to peaking. Depending on the polling, he could either get 15% right before the qualifying date, or his support could collapse to 7% within days.

Anti-Trumpism is in danger of becoming toxic, turning conservatives into compromised Clinton supporters. That’s got to be worse than Donald Trump himself.

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